Women and families needing IVF to start or grow their families will save up to $10,000 after the launch of a new public fertility service at Grampians Health.
Fertility services will be free for women and families accessing the new service, which will also reduce the stress of travel.
Previously, IVF has only been available in Ballarat in the private health system.
Patients eligible for the publicly funded fertility services will be able to undergo specialist consultations, diagnostic tests and ultrasounds in Ballarat, but more complex procedures such as egg retrieval and embryo implants will be carried out at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne.
Ballarat is the sixth regional site to host a public fertility service.
"We know that the road to growing or starting a family can be a really challenging one for so many women and their partners and families, but we believe that cost should not be a barrier, nor should where you live," said Victoria's health minister Mary-Anne Thomas at the launch of the Ballarat service.
"What this means is local women and families can access so much of the care they need closer to home ... making fertility and the joy of starting or growing a family so much more accessible."
It is estimated the service will save an average family around $10,000.
To be eligible to access the service, patients must have a referral from their GP or specialist, and meet age critera.
If aged under 35, patients need to have been trying to conceive for more than a year, and if aged 35 to 42 they must have been trying to conceive for at least six months and needs to be using an egg (their own or from a donor) that is 42 years or younger at time of treatment.
The public fertility service does not yet offer pre-implantation genetic testing, a technique used to help reduce the risk of passing on known genetic conditions, but there is hope it will be introduced next year.
Grampians Health clinical director of women and children's services Dr Natasha Frawley said she was "excited and thrilled" for Grampians Health to be a partner in making "health more equitable for families and women in Ballarat and surrounding areas".
Women from 10 shires across western Victoria will be eligible to receive fertility treatment at the new clinic in Ballarat.
"We know undergoing fertility treatment can be really challenging and can be really emotionally draining. That's why delivering care closer to home is really important so women have their support network, they are close to family, friends and not needing to take so much time out of their daily lives ... to access treatment they need," Ms Thomas said.
According to the Victorian Assisted Reproduction Treatment Authority 2022-23 annual report, private provider Ballarat IVF treated 480 women during the 2021-2022 financial year resulting in 181 babies born.